3 Sweet Recipes From Associate Dean and Professor Beth Vonnahme

UMKC faculty and staff share cozy winter dishes
Portrait of Beth Vonnahme

While winter break may not look the same this year, there's something cozy about preparing – and then eating – a great dish. So we asked UMKC faculty and staff if they could share recipes for some of their favorite winter treats.

Beth Vonnahme, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and associate professor of political science, loves to bake.

"Baking relaxes me," she says. "Creating something so tasty from simple ingredients brings me a lot of satisfaction. I also enjoy the smiles on my kids’ faces when they try one of my tasty treats."

Vonnahme enjoys baking sweets of various sorts, but cookies are her favorite. She loves chocolate chip cookies, but also has a lemon cookie recipe that have proven popular for special occasions including birthdays, baby showers and holidays. 

“Creating something so tasty from simple ingredients brings me a lot of satisfaction. I also enjoy the smiles on my kids' faces when they try one of my tasty treats.” - Beth Vonnahme

"I made them last year for the College of Arts and Sciences bake-off," she says. "Unfortunately, I was a judge so my entry was disqualified."

Fortunately for us, Vonnahme is sharing the Glazed Lemon Hearts recipe as well as two she offers up during election season that are winners no matter the time of year: Celebrate! Chocolate Cake and Consolation Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Want to share a recipe with your fellow Roos? Submit yours to the UMKC Taste of Home cookbook project. 

Lemon-Glazed Hearts

Makes about 72 cookies

Lemon Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks), softened (do not use margarine)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon peel
1 1/2 teasponns lemon extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Lemon Glaze

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
4 to 5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare cookies: In medium bowl, whisk flour, cornstarch and salt until blended.
  2.  In large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until creamy, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Beat in lemon peel and extracts. Reduce speed to low; gradually beat in flour mixture until blended, occasionally scraping bowl.
  3. Divide dough in half. Between two 20-inch sheets of waxed paper, roll half of dough 3/8-inch thick. With floured 2 1/4-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut dough into as many cookies as possible. With floured 3/4-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut and remove center from cookies. Reserve centers and trimmings to reroll. With lightly floured wide spatula, carefully place cookies, 1 inch apart, on two ungreased large cookie sheets. (If dough becomes too soft to transfer, freeze 10 minutes.)
  4. Bake cookies until edges are golden, 15 to 16 minutes, rotating cookie sheets between upper and lower oven racks halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire rack; cool 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare glaze: In small bowl, with wire whisk or for, mix confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and lemon peel until blended. Dip top side of each warm cookie into glaze. Place cookies on wire racks set over waxed paper to catch any drips. Allow glaze to set, about 20 minutes.
  6. Repeat with remaining dough, reserved centers, trimming and glaze, adding a little water to glaze if it begins to thicken. Store cookes, with waxed paper between layers, in an airtight container up to 5 days, or freeze up to 3 months.
Celebrate! Chocolate Cake

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup boiling water

  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease and flour two round pans.
  3. Mix dry ingredients.
  4. Add wet ingredients, except water.
  5. Once mixed, add boiling water.
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pans and turn the cakes out onto the racks to cool completely.
Consolation Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup butter
2 cups chocolate chips (Beth prefers mint chocolate chips)

  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Beat butter, sugars and vanilla until creamy.
  4. Add eggs.
  5. Add flour mixture.
  6. Add chips. 
  7. Bake on ungreased sheets 8 to 10 minutes.

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Published: Dec 14, 2020